The Zodiac Killer
The self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer is an unidentified American serial killer. He took credit of several murders in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1968 and 1969, but only five are directly linked to him. He taunted police and made threats through letters sent to newspapers in the area from 1969 to 1974. The police never caught him. The mystery surrounding the murders has inspired numerous books and movies, like Dirty Harry, in 1971, Zodiac, in 2007, and Awakening of the Zodiac, in 2017.
Zodiac Killer’s murders timeline
DEC. 20, 1968 The first confirmed murders attributed to the Zodiac Killer took place on the night of December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road, just inside Benicia city limits. The victims were high school students David Faraday and his girlfriend Betty Lou Jensen, who were shot to death in their car; shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby.
Newspaper page about the murders of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen
JULY 4, 1969 Just before midnight on July 4, 1969, Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau, her boyfriend, were sitting in a parked car in Blue Rock Springs Park, Vallejo. A car parked beside them, almost immediately drove away, and then came back after 10 minutes; the driver exited the vehicle and approached the couple with a flashlight. He shot them seven times each. Within an hour, a man called the Vallejo Police Department to report and claim responsibility for the attack; he also took credit for the murders of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen of six and a half months earlier.
Photos of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen
SEPT. 27, 1969 On the evening of September 27, 1969, the Zodiac Killer approached Cecelia Shepard and her boyfriend Bryan Hartnell as they were picnicking on a shore of Lake Berryessa, in Napa County. The man was wearing a black hood with clip-on sunglasses over the eye-holes, and a bib-like device on his chest that had a circle-cross symbol on it. He approached them with a gun, claiming to be an escaped convict from a prison, and told Shepard to tie up Hartnell, before tying her up. The man drew a knife and stabbed them both repeatedly, badly injuring the couple, then went back to their car and drew the cross-circle symbol with the inscription "Vallejo/12-20-68/7-4-69/Sept 27–69–6:30/by knife". At 7.40 p.m. on the same day, he called the Napa Police Department, to report and claim responsibility for the attack. When the police arrived, Shepard was still alive and described the attacker; she died two days later at the hospital, while Hartnell survived.
Photos of Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell
OCT. 11, 1969 Two weeks later, on October 11, 1969, taxi driver Paul Stine was found dead inside his taxi. He was shot in the head by a white male passenger, who had requested to be taken to Maple Street; for strange reasons Stine did not stop there but one block after, in Cherry Street. Three teenagers that lived across the street witnessed the passenger shooting Stine, and called the police while the crime was still occurring; they also stated that before running away, the man wiped the cab down. In the meantime, two policemen, Don Fouke and Eric Zelms, noticed a white man walking and entering inside one of the houses in the street; the suspect they were looking out for was supposedly black, and since the man they witnessed was white they did not stop him. As the murder did not seem to fit the Zodiac’s pattern it was initially thought to be a robbery, until the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac Killer claiming the crime.
Crime scene of Paul Stine’s murder
MARCH 22, 1970 On the night of March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns was driving with her newborn daughter on Highway 132 near Modesto, when a driver flashed his headlights at them. Johns pulled off the road and stopped, and so did the man; he told her that her right rear wheel was wobbling, and offered to tighten the lug nuts. After doing such, the man drove off, and when Johns pulled forward to re-enter the highway, the wheel almost immediately came off the car. The man came back and offered to drive her and her daughter to the nearest gas station. He drove them around for a long time, passing several gas stations, and when he stopped at an intersection Johns jumped out the car with her daughter and hid in a field. She later identified her kidnapper as the man depicted in a wanted poster for Paul Stine's murder, the Zodiac. Police never officially attributed the incident to the Zodiac.
Newspaper talking about Kathleen Johns kidnapping attempt
During the 1990s, many investigators claimed to have identified the Zodiac Killer; the most likely and most often cited suspect was Arthur Leigh Allen, a Vallejo schoolteacher who had been institutionalized for child molestation. The police were able to create a sketch of the Zodiac, using the descriptions of several witnesses; for example, the three teenagers who saw the man leaving the scene of Paul Stine’s murder, and Kathleen Johns, who identified the man that tried to kidnap her from the sketch of the Zodiac. Despite the mounting evidence and the numerous suspects, the killer remained at large.
Sketch of the Zodiac Killer made by the San Francisco police department
Letters and cyphers
The Zodiac sent several letters containing cyphers to various newspapers located in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Vallejo Times-Herald. The newspapers received the first letter on August 1, 1969, where the killer took credit for the Benicia and Vallejo murders. To convince the police that he was the author of the murders, he included details that only the killer could have known. Each letter was closed by a circle with a cross through it, that would later become the Zodiac Killer’s symbol. High school teacher Donald Harden and his wife, Bettye, were able to solve the first cypher.
A couple of days after the murder of Paul Stine, on October 15, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received another letter from the Zodiac, where he took credit for the murder; this is also the first letter in which the killer uses the name “Zodiac”. At the end of the letter, the killer mused that he would next shoot out the tire of a school bus and "pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out". The Zodiac Killer continued sending letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, where he claimed to have committed several more murders and mocked the police for their inability to catch him. The letters stopped in 1974.
In 2020, after 51 years, one of the messages written in code and attributed to the Zodiac Killer has been solved. The cypher does not reveal the killer's identity, however, it confirms his image as an attention-seeking killer who revelled in terrorizing the Bay Area in the late 1960s.
The three men who decrypted the code are David Oranchak, a software developer in Virginia, Sam Blake, an applied mathematician in Melbourne, Australia, and Jarl Van Eycke, a warehouse operator and computer programmer in Belgium. The F.B.I., which employs a team of code-crackers in its Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, said they had verified Mr Oranchak’s claim of having broken the code.
It read: “I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me that wasn’t me on the TV show which brings up a point about me I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradice all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me where everyone else has nothing when they reach paradice so they are afraid of death I am not afraid because I know that my new life is life will be an easy one in paradice death.”
Though he had claimed to be responsible for 37 deaths, no Zodiac victims have been discovered since 1969, and in both the known and presumed Zodiac murders no suspect was ever arrested. Since the Faraday-Jensen murders, the inability to identify the Zodiac Killer has continued to frustrate law enforcement.
Zodiac Killer - Biography
The coded message has been solved - New York Times
Zodiac Killer - Wikipedia
Zodiac Killer Timeline - San Francisco Chronicle
The Infamous Case of The Zodiac Killer
January 29, 2021
This has to be one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of true crime. Right up there with the Jack the Ripper and The Black Dahlia cases, the identity of the Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized California in the late 1960’s remains unknown, though there are some very likely suspects that do fit the description of the killer and his MO.
Like with all the unsolved mysteries I cover on here I want you guys to tell me who you think is the most likely suspect, who do you think the identity of the Zodiac is?
On the night of December 20th, 1968 two high school students named Betty Lou Jensen who was 16 and David Arthur Faraday, 17, went on their first date. The couple visited a friend first, before going to a local restaurant and then decided to drive down Lake Herman Road instead of the city limits of Benicia. Around 10:15 pm David parked his car in what was known as being a “lover’s lane.”
After 11 pm the bodies of Betty Lou and David were found by a woman named Stella Borges, who lived nearby. The Solano County Sheriff’s Department was called to the case and conducted an investigation but there was nothing to go off of, there were no leads. A man named Robert Graysmith using the forensic data that was available from the scene suspected that another car had parked next to the couple’s that night. Whoever was driving that car exited out of their car, walked towards the couples car and ordered Betty Lou and David out of the car. Betty Lou appeared to have exited the car first, and when David was halfway out the person shot him in the head. The killer shot Betty Lou 5 times in the back as she tried to run away. Her body was found 28 feet away from the car.
Before midnight on the night of July 4, 1969 Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove four miles away from Lake Herman Road, where the first murders took place. They drove to the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo to park. At one point a second car drove up to the couple and parked beside them but then quickly drove away. This is very suspicious to me because what would be the reasoning for this? Did the Zodiac contemplate whether or not to kill this couple? Very suspicious.
About 10 minutes later the car pulled up again, this time parking behind the couple. The driver exited the car, approaching the passenger side door of the couples car. The killer was holding a flashlight and a 9 mm Luger. The killer flashed the light into the eyes of Darlene and Michael and then proceeded to shoot them, firing his gun 5 times. The killer then walked away but heard Michael moaning in pain and returned to shoot each victim twice more. The killer then drove off. Miraculously, Michael Mageau survived the shooting, however Darlene passed away.
The craziest part of this shooting is that around 12:40 am on July 5, 1969, so very shortly after the attack a man called the Vallejo Police Department to report the shooting and confess to being the killer. The killer also confessed to the Lake Herman Road killings that happened 6 months prior. The police did trace this phone call to a phone booth at a gas station at the Springs Road and Tuolumne, which was only a few blocks from the Vallejo Police Department. Because Michael survived he was actually able to give the police a good description of his attacker. The killer was described as a white male with short, light brown curly hair, about 26-30 years old, 195-200 pounds, possibly more, 5 ft 8 inches tall.
So you would think great, the police now have a good description of the man responsible for the murders so it will be easier to solve. Super wrong.
If you know anything about serial killers you know that most of them are extremely egotistical, and love to take credit for their work. In doing so, a lot of these killers like to taunt the police, and intrigue the media, make it a fun game to catch them and one of the main ways to do this is to send letters.
Three letters were sent to the Vallejo Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner on August 1, 1969. All of the letters were pretty much identical, with a psychiatrist describing the letters as written by someone who you would expect to be “brooding and isolated.” Each letter talked about the two murders and included one third of a 408 cipher which the killer claimed if it could be deciphered his identity would be known. The killer wanted each letter to be printed on the front of these newspapers, threatening to kill more people if they did not obey.
The San Francisco Chronicle published the cryptogram on page 4 of the next day’s paper. However, the police weren’t exactly sure if the letter was written by the murderer and wanted him to write a second letter with more facts to prove he was the killer.
On August 7, 1969 another letter was received and started with, “Dear Editor, This is the Zodiac speaking” which was the first time the killer used a name for himself. The letter was responding to the police asking for a second letter with the Zodiac including details that were not released to the public yet.
The next day, August 8, 1969 a couple living in Salinas, California named Donald and Bettye Harden cracked the cryptogram that the Zodiac sent. In the message the Zodiac referred to “The Most Dangerous Game.” The Zodiac also discussed how his reasoning for killing people was to “collect slaves for the afterlife.” However, there was no name given to identify the Zodiac’s true identity, as was promised because the killer said if he gave away his identity it would slow down or stop him from collecting slaves.
The murder took place on September 27, 1969 college students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were on a picnic date at Lake Berryessa when suddenly a man approached them. He was white, about 5 feet 11 inches, weighing over 170 pounds with combed greasy brown hair. He was wearing a black executioner’s-type hood with clip on sunglasses over the eye holds and a bib that had what was later known to be the zodiac’s symbol in white. Can I just point out that I love that they used the word bib? Like this motherfucker was really walking around with a bib on.
The man came up to the couple and was holding what appeared to be a .45 caliber. The man spoke to the students telling them that he had escaped from jail in either Colorado or Montana (which I don’t understand why he didn’t know especially since he was probably lying). A police officer later believed that the man was talking about a jail in Deer Lodge Montana. The man told the students he needed their car and money to go to Mexico.
The man then demanded Cecilia to tie up Bryan with a plastic clothesline before he planned to tie her up as well. The man then checked and had to tighten Bryan’s bonds because Cecilia had tied them too loose. The man then stabbed both of them repeatedly, with Bryan suffering 6 wounds and Cecilia 10. The man then left the scene, walked back to the couple’s car, drew the zodiac symbol on the car door and then proceeded to write the dates of the other Zodiac murders.
In the evening the killer called the Napa County Sheriff’s office from a pay phone to report the crime and admit that he was the one responsible for it. The pay phone the killer used was found with it off the hook minutes later at the Napa Car Wash on Main Street by radio reporter Pat Stanley which was fairly close to the sheriff’s office. The detectives were able to get a still wet palm print from the phone but could never match it to anyone.
A man and son who were fishing found Bryan and Cecilia and contacted the park rangers for help. When police arrived Cecilia was still conscious and able to provide them with a description of her attacker. The couple was taken to the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, but sadly Cecilia went into a coma during the ride to the hospital and never regained consciousness. She died two days later on September 29, 1969, however Bryan fortunately survived and was able to tell his story to the public.
On October 11, 1969, a white male passenger entered a cab driven by Paul Stine at the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets in San Francisco asking to be taken to Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. As they were driving the passenger shot Stine once in the head with a 9mm, took Stine's wallet and car keys, and tore a section of Stine's bloodstained shirt. Three teenagers saw this passenger and called the police. The teenagers claimed to have seen a man wiping down the cab before walking away.
Two blocks from the crime scene two patrol officers saw a white man walking along the sidewalk, and this was believed to be the Zodiac killer though they did not realize at the time. The man was around 35-45 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a crew cut, and slightly older looking than the description the three teenagers gave. For some reason, which I still don’t understand to this day is that the police got a call that they should be on the look-out for a black suspect, so when they saw this white man they were not immediately suspicious. The Wikipedia source says the police just drove by the man walking but other sources I’ve seen have claimed the police officers actually stopped and talked to the man.
There’s still no suspects at this point and this is technically the last confirmed murder done by the Zodiac. On October 13, 1969, two days after the murder of Paul Stine, the San Francisco Chronicle got another letter from the Zodiac talking credit for killing Stine as well as sending them the torn piece of Stine’s shirt. After this the teenagers who witnessed this man helped the police come up with a composite sketch.
The next day, October 14 the newspaper received another letter from the Zodiac threatening to kill school children getting off of a school bus. On October 20 a person who claimed to be the Zodiac called the police wanting two lawyers to go on the talk show A.M. San Francisco. During the show someone claiming to be the Zodiac called several times and told them his name was Sam. One of the lawyers scheduled a meeting with the Zodiac but he never showed.
Another cryptogram came in the mail on November 8, 1969 called the Z-340 cryptogram. This cryptogram went unsolved for 51 years until just recently in December of 2020 it was solved by a team of private citizens such as Sam Blake a mathematician, Jarl Van Eycke, a Belgian programmers and American software engineer David Oranchak. They sent what they found to the FBI who verified their discovery. However, this cryptogram was basically bullshit and didn’t give any clues or leads about who the Zodiac was.
On November 9, 1969 the Zodiac mailed a letter discussing how two policemen stopped and spoke with him a few minutes after he shot Paul Stine. Some of this letter was published to the paper on November 12.
So clearly this guy just loves to taunt the police and send letters which I don’t really have any doubt that a random person was sending these letters, I think it was the real Zodiac and he clearly was an attention seeking asshole.
On December 20, 1969 exactly one year after the supposed first murder the Zodiac committed, he sent a letter asking one the lawyers from the AM show to help him.
Things seemed to be pretty quiet on the Zodiac’s end for a couple of months which seems kind of weird. Until one night a woman named Kathleen Johns was driving to go visit her mother. It was March 22, 1970 and she had her 10 month old daughter in tow. She was also 7 months pregnant. While she was driving a car behind her kept honking and flashing their lights so she pulled over on the side of the road. The man also pulled over and parked behind her telling her that he noticed her right rear wheel was wobbling. He offered to tighten it for her. Kathleen agreed and when the man finished he drove off.
When Kathleen went to get back on the road her wheel fell off and she realized that this man had actually loosened the wheel instead of tightening it. The man who “fixed” the wheel came back and offered to drive Kathleen and her daughter to a gas station. While driving they drove past a bunch of gas station yet the man did not stop. When the man stopped at an intersection about 90 minutes later Kathleen actually jumped out of the vehicle with her daughter and hid in a field. The driver searched for her using his flashlight and kept telling her he wouldn’t hurt her, but he eventually gave up and left. Kathleen hitched a ride to a police station to report the man.
Which ok a couple of things here. First, how the fuck did this woman and her small child stay so quiet as this guy was looking for them in the field with his flashlight? Like the fact that the child did not make A SOUND is amazing. Also after getting in this car with a stranger who most definitely was going to kill her and probably her child, it’s crazy she got in ANOTHER car with a stranger to hitch a ride to the police station but I get that it was the 1970’s and everyone was whack.
Ok and this part is fucking insane. While Kathleen was reporting this to the police she noticed the composite sketch they had made of the Zodiac and identified that man as the one who she had to jump out of his car.
Some accounts say this man threatened to kill Kathleen and her daughter though one police report disputes this. There’s also some confusion over whether the Zodiac actually left his car to look for her in the field or not. One report said he did and another says he did not leave his car.
The Zodiac like we’ve already established was an egotistical maniac who wanted everyone to pay attention to him. He kept sending letters throughout 1970 and at one point actually demanded that people wear “Zodiac buttons” basically like he wanted his own fan club.
On July 24, 1970 the Zodiac sent a letter claiming responsibility for the incident with Kathleen and her daughter. There was also other letters sent from supposedly the Zodiac claiming other killings though none of these have ever been confirmed to be done by the Zodiac.
Since this is already a super long story when discussing potential suspects I am only going to talk about one even though there are a few, mostly because this one suspect is the one that is most widely believed to be the Zodiac.
Arthur Leigh Allen had been interviewed by the police very early on in the investigation and also had a lot of search warrants over 20 years. On October 6, 1969 Allen was interviewed by Vallejo police. He had apparently been around the area of Lake Berryessa the day that Bryan and Cecila were attacked and killed (Bryan survived) on September 27, 1969. Allen told the police he had actually been scuba diving at Salt Point that same day.
In 1971 one of Arthur’s friends, Donald Cheney had reported to police that Arthur often talked about his desire to kill other people and he even referred to himself as “the Zodiac” either before or during the time when the killings took place. Arthur was also known to keep a flashlight secured on his gun so he could see at night according to this friend.
Arthur Leigh Allen had been honourably discharged from the US Navy in 1958, as well as having been fired from his job being an elementary school teacher in March 1968 after sexual assault allegations with his students came forth. Which if that is true then Arthur was only fired for around 9 months before the Zodiac killings took place. Maybe he began killing due to possible anger from getting fired from this job earlier in that year.
Arthur Leigh Allen also apparently had never had a girlfriend or a wife, and was described as being quite angry towards women probably due to this reason. Perhaps he targeted mostly couples due to his embarrassment or shame of never having a relationship, or perhaps he struggled with talking to women.
In September of 1972 the San Francisco police got a search warrant for Arthur’s house. Arthur was also described as being “fixated on children” and in 1974 he was arrested for sexually assaulting a 12 year old boy and got 2 years imprisonment. Apparently during this time he was in prison no Zodiac letters were sent. Also classic fucking 70’s punishment, 2 years for sexual assault on a child?! Smh.
Arthur’s house was searched again in February of 1991. He died in 1992 and the Vallejo police got another warrant and seized property from his place. It does not appear that anything crazy was found to tie him to the Zodiac killings.
A letter that was sent to the Riverside Police Department from Bate’s killer was typed with a Royal typewriter which was the same brand of typewriter that was found in Arthur’s house in 1991. Arthur also wore a Zodiac brand wristwatch and lived in Vallejo. He also worked a few minutes away from where one of the Zodiac killings took place and he lived close to one of the victims (Ferrin).
In 2002 the San Francisco police got a partial DNA profile from salvia that was found on stamps and envelopes of the Zodiac’s letters. Remember back in the late 1960’s there was no such thing as being able to link DNA (at least easily) to a person. However, Arthur Leigh Allen’s DNA did not match the DNA found. Don Cheney, the friend who claimed Arthur could have been the Zodiac was also tested but the DNA did not match him either.
A former police handwriting expert Lloyd Cunningham who worked on the Zodiac case for a long time claimed that Arthur Leigh Allen’s handwriting was nowhere close to that of whoever wrote the Zodiac letters. However, it could be possible that someone else wrote the letters, an accomplice perhaps, and also that an accomplice or someone working closely to the real Zodiac provided salvia for the stamps and envelopes.
This is a really long case and there’s a lot more details and suspects that are available to research into so I highly suggest you do your own research on this case, it is fascinating. To this day, in 2021, no one has been convicted of the Zodiac killings. To me personally I feel as though the real Zodiac either moved away from the California area, randomly stopped killing (though that seems unlikely), or died or went to prison himself and that is why the Zodiac has never been found.
I think it is most likely believed that he died because this dude was an egomaniac that wanted credit for his killings. If he continued to kill even if he moved out of the California area he would’ve most likely kept leaving clues and sending letters. If he went to prison I feel like he would’ve confessed at some point since he’s already in there.
It could be possible that the Zodiac is still alive today but he would be extremely old, at least in his 80’s I’d say, and unless a deathbed confession comes in the next few years I’d say we can pretty much without a doubt say he died in a sudden way and was never able to confess or take credit publicly. I’d say the Zodiac killer’s identity will remain unsolved.
Let me know who you think the Zodiac is, other theories you have, and if there’s any other cases you want me to cover in the future! Stay safe & I’ll have a new true crime story posted soon!
Habana Blues English Subtitles
Habana Blues English Subtitles Translation
Start studying Habana Blues (SN). Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Unfortunately, I cannot give this disc 5 stars. It is non-anamorphic, something very surprising for a disc released in 2007. The subtitles are 'hard-coded' - that is, you cannot turn them off (even if you speak Spanish.) And the special features are in Spanish, with no subtitles or alternate language track. HABANA BLUES with english subtitles. 192 Kbps 151.84 MB MB 1:50:34 min. Habana Blues Band- Arenas De Soledad. 192 Kbps 4.39 MB MB 3:12 min. Habana Blues - Habana Blues. 192 Kbps 3.8 MB MB 2:46 min. Banda Sonora Original - Habana Blues. 192 Kbps 69.72 MB MB 50:46 min.
Habana Blues Online English Subtitles
Ruy and Tito, childhood friends, are two young Cuban musicians who struggle daily to survive in the island's particular economy. Like anyone, in order to eat they have to hustle a living from whatever turns up, and as artistes, in order to make themselves known, they record homemade demos and work at organizing their first concert. Despite countless obstacles, enthusiasm and humour keep hope alive.
Ruy is married to Caridad and, although they have two sons and still love each other, Ruy's unstable life, both financial and personal, has them on the verge of a heralded break-up.
The two friends meet Marta and Lorenzo, Spanish music producers who come to Cuba looking for young talent and, at what they think is their big chance, they set out to 'conquer' the Spaniards. Ruy is chosen to seduce Marta and thus make sure they get to Spain but, as a result of this, Tito and Ruy neglect preparations for their concert, and Ruy abandons his family obligations. For her part, Caridad finally decides to divorce Ruy and leave with the children for the United Sates.
But the relationship with the Spaniards and the abusive conditions of the .contract' that they offer him and that will prevent him from returning to Cuba for a long time, make Ruy more and more annoyed with himself. Deeply affect by the personal crisis he is going through, in which everything he loves seems to be collapsing, the only way he finds to recover his self-esteem is to break with everything and distance himself from Tito who is still determined to leave despite everything.
The day of the concert arrives. Ruy has accepted to do it so as not to disappoint all the people who have been supporting him for so long in this project, but his heart is broken because his 'brother' Tito is not there to share what had been a dream for both of them.
The first notes sound, the theatre is packed, there is a party atmosphere... Tito appears by surprise on the stage and magic manifests itself in a communion of rhythm and brotherhood.
Because music is a religion where the Cubans find their dignity.
Habana Blues Full Movie
TitleType3 BEAUTIES (3 BELLEZAS)FILM7 SOLESFILMA FONDO--ANTONIO BUERO VALLEJO/LEANDRO MOOMIOFILMABRE LOS OJOS (OPEN YOUR EYES)FILMALATRISTE (with English subtitles)FILMALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (TODO SOBRE...) (with English subtitles)FILMAMANTES DEL CIRCULO POLAR, LOSFILMAMERICANOS: LATINO LIFE IN THE U.S.DOCUMENTARYAMERICAS (SERIES of 10)DOCUMENTARYAMORES PERROSFILMANDALUSIA: LEGACY OF THE MOORSDOCUMENTARYANTONIO BUERO VALLEJO INTERVIEWDOCUMENTARYANTONIO BUERO ENTREVISTA 1981
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Part 1: The Murders
Although the Zodiac claimed to have committed 37 murders in letters to Bay Area newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived. I’m going to first break down the seven confirmed victims and what happened to each so that we have a basic understanding of what the police and new papers were investigating.
Lake Herman Road Murders
Where: Lake Herman Road within the city limits of Benicia, California
When: December 20, 1968
Victims: Betty Lou Jensen (killed) and David Faraday (survived); high school students
Details: The couple were on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School, about three blocks from Jensen's home. The couple instead visited a friend before eating at a local restaurant and then drove out on Lake Herman Road. At about 10:15 p.m., Faraday parked his mother's Rambler in a gravel turnout, which was a well-known lovers' lane. However, this area is remote and could have only been known as a lover’s spot by someone who was familiar with the area of Benicia.
It is postulated that another car pulled into the turnout, just prior to 11:00 pm and parked to the right the couple. The killer apparently exited the second car and walked toward the Rambler, possibly ordering the couple out of the Rambler (it is suspected that a warning shot was fired into the right rear window of the vehicle). Jensen appeared to have exited the car first, yet when Faraday was halfway out, the killer apparently shot him in the head. The killer then shot Jensen five times in the back as she fled; her body was found 28 feet from the car. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby.
Zodiac Confirmation: On August 1, 1969, about a month after the Zodiac’s next attack, three letters prepared by the killer were received at the Vallejo Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Francisco Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for the shootings at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs. We’ll dive into the details of the letters later on, but the author of these letters was believed to be the murderer and attempted murderer of Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday (respectively) because the letters contained information about the murders that only the murderer could have known.
Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday:
Crime Scene Photo:
Crime Scene Diagram:
Blue Rock Springs Murder
Where: Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, California
When: Just before midnight on July 4, 1969
Victims: Michael Renault Mageau, 19 (survived), and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22 (killed)
Details: Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau drove into the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, four miles (6.4 km) from the Lake Herman Road murder site, and parked. While the couple sat in Ferrin's car, a second car drove into the lot and parked alongside them but almost immediately drove away. Returning about 10 minutes later, this second car parked behind them. The driver of the second car then exited the vehicle, approaching the passenger side door of Ferrin's car, carrying a flashlight and a 9 mm Luger. The killer directed the flashlight into Mageau's and Ferrin's eyes before shooting at them, firing five times. Both victims were hit, and several bullets had passed through Mageau and into Ferrin. The killer walked away from the car but upon hearing Mageau's moaning, returned and shot each victim twice more before driving off.
Zodiac: On July 5, 1969, at 12:40 a.m., a man phoned the Vallejo Police Department to report and claim responsibility for the attack. The caller also took credit for the murders of Jensen and Faraday six and a half months earlier. Police traced the call to a phone booth at a gas station at Springs Road and Tuolumne, located about three-tenths of a mile (500 m) from Ferrin's home and only a few blocks from the Vallejo Police Department. Ferrin was pronounced dead at the hospital. Mageau survived the attack despite being shot in the face, neck and chest.
As stated, on August 1, 1969, three letters prepared by the killer were received at the Vallejo Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Francisco Examiner. Each letter also included one-third of a cryptogram (a type of puzzle that consists of a short piece of encrypted text) which the killer claimed contained his identity. The killer demanded they be printed on each paper's front page or he would "cruse around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend."
The Chronicle published its third of the cryptogram on page four of the next day's edition. An article printed alongside the code quoted Vallejo Police Chief Jack E. Stiltz as saying "We're not satisfied that the letter was written by the murderer" and requested the writer send a second letter with more facts to prove his identity. The threatened murders did not happen, and all three parts were eventually published.
On August 7, 1969, another letter was received at The San Francisco Examiner with the salutation "Dear Editor This is the Zodiac speaking." This was the first time the killer had used this name for identification. The letter was a response to Chief Stiltz's request for more details that would prove he had killed Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin. In it, the Zodiac included details about the murders which had not yet been released to the public, as well as a message to the police that when they cracked his code "they will have me."
Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau:
Crime Scene Diagram:
Lake Berryessa Murder
Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22: stabbed on September 27, 1969, at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Hartnell survived eight stab wounds to the back, but Shepard died as a result of her injuries on September 29, 1969.
Where: Lake Berryessa in Napa County, California
When: September 27, 1969 (a little over a month after the last Zodiac letter)
Victims: Bryan Calvin Hartnell (survived), 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard (killed), 22; college students
Details: Two Pacific Union College students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were picnicking at Lake Berryessa on a small island connected by a sand spit to Twin Oak Ridge. A man in a black hood approached them with a gun, which Hartnell believed to be a .45. The hooded man claimed to be an escaped convict from a jail where he had killed a guard and subsequently stolen a car, explaining that he now needed their car and money to go to Mexico, as the vehicle he had been driving was "too hot". The man had brought precut lengths of plastic clothesline and told Shepard to tie up Hartnell. The killer checked the ties, and tightened Hartnell's bonds after discovering Shepard had bound Hartnell's hands loosely. Hartnell initially believed this event to be a bizarre robbery, but the man drew a knife and stabbed them both repeatedly, Hartnell suffering six and Shepard ten wounds in the process. The killer then hiked 500 yards back up to Knoxville Road, drew the cross-circle symbol on Hartnell's car door with a black felt-tip pen. After hearing their screams for help, a man and his son who were fishing in a nearby cove discovered the victims and summoned help by contacting park rangers.
Napa County Sheriff's deputies Dave Collins and Ray Land were the first law enforcement officers to arrive at the crime scene. Cecelia Shepard was conscious when Collins arrived, providing him with a detailed description of the attacker. Hartnell and Shepard were taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa by ambulance. Shepard lapsed into a coma during transport to the hospital and never regained consciousness. She died two days later, but Hartnell survived to recount his tale to the press.
Zodiac: At 7:40 p.m., the killer called the Napa County Sheriff's office from a pay telephone to report this latest crime. The caller first stated to the operator that he wished to "report a murder - no, a double murder," before stating that he had been the perpetrator of the crime. The phone was found, still off the hook, minutes later at the Napa Car Wash on Main Street in Napa by KVON radio reporter Pat Stanley, only a few blocks from the sheriff's office, yet 27 miles from the crime scene. Detectives were able to lift a still-wet palm print from the telephone.
Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard:
Crime Scene Diagrams:
Note Left by Zodiac on victim’s car door:
Presidio Heights Murder
Where: Cross section of Washington and Cherry Streets in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.
When: October 11, 1969, around 10pm
Victim: Paul Lee Stine; Cab Driver
Details: On October 11, 1969, a white male passenger entered the cab driven by Paul Stine at the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets (one block west from Union Square) in San Francisco requesting to be taken to Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. For reasons unknown, Stine drove one block past Maple to Cherry Street; the passenger then shot Stine once in the head with a 9mm, took Stine's wallet and car keys, and tore away a section of Stine's bloodstained shirt tail.
This passenger was observed by three teenagers across the street at 9:55 p.m., who called the police while the crime was in progress. They observed a man wiping the cab down before walking away towards the Presidio, one block to the north.
Two blocks from the crime scene, patrol officer Don Fouke and Eric Zelms, responding to the call, observed a white man walking along the sidewalk east on Jackson Street and stepping onto a stairway leading up to the front yard of one of the homes on the north side of the street; the encounter lasted only five to ten seconds. The police radio dispatcher had however initially alerted officers to be on the lookout for a black suspect, so Fouke and Zelms drove past him without stopping.
This was the last officially confirmed murder by the Zodiac Killer.
Zodiac: On October 13, the San Francisco Chronicle received a new letter from Zodiac containing a piece of bloody shirt and taking credit for the killing.
Paul Lee Stine:
Crime Scene Photo:
San Francisco Chronicle:
The Zodiac Killer:
Who is the Zodiac Killer? How many People did he kill? Was he caught? The self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer was linked directly to at least five murders in 1968 and 1969 in Northern California and may have been responsible for more. He taunted the police and made threats by letters sent from 1969 to 1974 to local newspapers, before abruptly ceasing communication. No one was ever arrested for the crimes, despite intensive investigations, and the case remains open. Many books and films have been the subject of the mystery surrounding the murders, including the acclaimed 2007 feature Zodiac by director David Fincher. The Zodiac Killer is the alias of an unknown serial killer living in Northern California from the late 1960s to the early 1970s at least. Between December 1968 and October 1969, the Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco. The killer killed four men and three women aged 16 to 29, with two of the men surviving attempted assassination. The Zodiac itself claimed up to 37 victims were killed. In a series of taunting letters and cards sent to the local Bay Area media, the murderer coined the name "Zodiac." Four cryptograms (or ciphers) were included in the documents. Only one of the four cryptograms sent was eventually resolved.
Zodiac Killer Letters, Symbol & Cipher: on August 1, 1969, each of three editors received an identical handwritten letter in an envelope without a return address from the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Vallejo Times-Herald. Beginning with "Dear Editor: I'm the murderer of the two teenagers at Lake Herman last Christmas," the letters included specifics of the killings of the Zodiac Killer that only the killer could have learned. If the letters were not printed on the papers ' front page, the killer continued to threaten further attacks. Every letter ended with a symbol consisting of a circle with a cross through it, in what would become known as the symbol of the Zodiac Killer
Here are some of The Zodiac Killers victims that had been confirmed and that they police suspected he murdered.
Although the Zodiac claimed to have committed 37 murders in letters to the newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived. They are:
· David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16: shot and killed on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road, within the city limits of Benicia. Coordinates: 38°5′41.61″N 122°8′38.24″W
· Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22: shot on July 4, 1969, in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo. While Mageau survived the attack, Ferrin was pronounced dead on arrival at Kaiser Foundation Hospital. Coordinates: 38°7′33.56″N 122°11′27.94″W
· Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22: stabbed on September 27, 1969, at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Hartnell survived eight stab wounds to the back, but Shepard died as a result of her injuries on September 29, 1969. Coordinates: 38°33′48.29″N 122°13′54.43″W
· Paul Lee Stine, 29: shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in the Presidio Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. Coordinates: 37°47′19.47″N 122°27′25.54″W
The following murder victims are suspected to be victims of Zodiac, though none have been confirmed:
· Robert Domingos, 18, and Linda Edwards, 17: shot and killed on June 4, 1963, on a beach near Gaviota. Edwards and Domingos were identified as possible Zodiac victims because of specific similarities between their attack and the Zodiac's attack at Lake Berryessa six years later. Coordinates: 34°28′11.20″N 120°10′7.14″W
· Cheri Jo Bates, 18: stabbed to death and nearly decapitated on October 30, 1966, at Riverside City College in Riverside. Bates's possible connection to the Zodiac only appeared four years after her murder when San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery received a tip regarding similarities between the Zodiac killings and the circumstances surrounding Bates's death. College coordinates: 33°58′19″N 117°22′52″W
· Donna Lass, 25: last seen September 6, 1970, in Stateline, Nevada. A postcard with an advertisement from Forest Pines condominiums (near Incline Village at Lake Tahoe) pasted on the back was received at the Chronicle on March 22, 1971 and has been interpreted as the Zodiac claiming Lass's disappearance as a victim. No evidence has been uncovered to connect Lass's disappearance with the Zodiac Killer definitively.
The Zodiac is also a suspect in the unsolved Santa Rosa hitchhiker murders.
There is also a suspected third escapee from the Zodiac Killer:
· Kathleen Johns, 22: allegedly abducted on March 22, 1970, on Highway 132 near I-580, in an area west of Modesto. Johns escaped from the car of a man who drove her and her infant daughter around the area between Stockton and Patterson for approximately 1½ hours. Junction 132/I-580 coordinates: 37°38′16.14″N 121°23′55.22″W
The polices nightmare: Lake Herman Road attack: The first assassinations widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the killing of high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Boulevard, just within the city limits of Benicia. The pair were about three blocks from Jensen's home on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School. Instead, the couple visited a friend before parking at a local restaurant and driving on Lake Herman Avenue. Faraday parked the Rambler of his mother at about 10:15 p.m. in a gravel turnout, which was a well-known lane of lovers. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., Stella Borges, who lived nearby, found their bodies. The Department of the Solano County Sheriff investigated the crime, but there were no leads. More details include, Robert Graysmith, using available forensic data, postulated that another car would pull into the turnout just before 11:00 pm and park next to the couple. Apparently, the killer left the second car and walked towards the Rambler, possibly ordering the pair out of the Rambler. Jensen appears to have left the car first, but the murderer apparently shot him in the head when Faraday was halfway out. The attacker then shot Jensen in the back five times as she fled; 28 meters from the car found her body. Then the killer drove away.
Lake Berryessa attack: On September 27, 1969, on a small island connected by a sand spit to Twin Oak Ridge, Pacific Union College students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were picnicking at Lake Berryessa. A white man weighing more than 170 pounds (77 kg) with combed greasy brown hair, about 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m), approached them wearing a black executioner-type hood with clip-on sunglasses over the eyeholes and a bib-like device on his chest that had a white three-by-three-inch (7.6 cm) cross-circle logo on it. With a gun, which Hartnell believed to be a.45, he approached them. The man with the cap claimed to be an escape convict from a two-word prison in either Colorado or Montana, where he killed the guard and then stolen a car, explaining that he now needed their car and money to get to Mexico, as the vehicle he was driving was "too hot"
At 7:40, the killer rang out of a payphone to announce the new crime to the office of the Napa County Sheriff. He first told the operator he wanted to "trace an assassination-not a double assassination," before revealing that he was the perpetrator. Only a few blocks from the Sheriff's office but still 43 miles (27 miles) from the crime scene, the phone was found, still off the hook, by KVON radio reporter, Pat Stanley, minutes later on at Napa Car Wash on Main Street. Detectives could take a still wet palm print from their mobile but could never fit it. When a man and his son heard their cry for help in a nearby cove, they located the victims and sought help in contact with park rangers. They were fishing. The first law enforcement officers to come to the crime scene were Dave Collins and Ray Land detectives of Napa County Sheriff. Cecelia Shepard was aware of the detailed description of the attacker when Collins arrived. The Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa was brought by the ambulance, Hartnell and Shepard. In transportation to the hospital, Shepard lapsed into a coma and never recovered consciousness. Two days later she died, but Hartnell lived to tell his story to the press. Sheriff Inspector of Napa County
The Final Letter that the San Francisco Police gotten from The Zodiac Killer: The Zodiac remained quiet for almost three years following the card "Pines." A letter, published on 29 January 1974 by Zodiac, hailed The Exorcist as "the best satirical comedy I've ever seen" The letter contained a snippet from the Mikado and an unusual lower symbol, which the researchers did not explain. The letter "Me= 37, SF PD= 0" came to an end by Zodiac. So, if The Zodiac Killer was never caught what is the status of the case? The SFPD labeled the case "inactive" in April 2004, citing pressure on caseloads and demands for resources that effectively shut down the case. Sometime before March 2007, however, they reopened their case. In the county of Napa and Riverside the case was then opened. Did the police have any suspects?
In May 2018, the police department of Vallejo announced that it wished to try to collect the DNA from the back of his correspondence. The analysis will take the advanced new method of separating DNA from the adhesive on the back of the stamps, used by a private laboratory. There were five suspected to be The Zodiac Killer which are named: Arthur Leigh Allen, Jack Tarrance, George Russell Tucker, Louis Joseph Myers, and lastly Earl Van Best Jr. The Zodiac killer is supposed to be captured in the same way as the Golden State Killer. A policeman from Vallejo said results were expected in several weeks in May 2018. Nonetheless, no findings were announced by December 2019. Two famous quotes from The Zodiac Killer: “The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them.”– Zodiac Killer, and “I want to report a murder... no, a double murder. They are two miles north of Park Headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Kharmann Ghia. I'm the one that did it.”– Zodiac Killer.
"Zodiac Killer - Letters, Cipher & Suspects - Biography." Famous Biographies & TV Shows. 14 Oct 2017. Web. 13 Dec 2019. <http://www.biography.com/crime-figure/zodiac-killer>.
"Zodiac Killer Quotes." Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://www.quotes.net/authors/Zodiac+Killer+Quotes>.
"Zodiac Killer - Wikipedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 Dec 2019. Web. 13 Dec 2019. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiac_Killer>.